Could Jurgen Klopp and Robert Lewandowski be set to work together again?

The pair enjoyed a successful partnership at Borussia Dortmund.

Now, Klopp is reportedly trying to lure the Bayern Munich forward to Liverpool.

 

TOP STORY – KLOPP WANTS LEWANDOWSKI REUNION

Liverpool are targeting Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, according to Fichajes.

Lewandowski worked with Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund before joining Bundesliga rivals Bayern in 2014.

There has been talk Lewandowski could be ready for a new challenge amid links to Real Madrid and Manchester City, though Klopp is reportedly determined to reunite with the Poland international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bild claims Dortmund have identified Chelsea forward Timo Werner as a possible option to replace Erling Haaland. Club are queueing up to sign Haaland, with City, Manchester United, Bayern, Liverpool, Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain all reportedly interested. Should Haaland leave Dortmund, the Bundesliga outfit reportedly see former RB Leipzig star Werner as a potential successor.

- Fabrizio Romano says Inter forward Lautaro Martinez is nearing a contract extension at San Siro. He has reportedly turned down offers from Tottenham and Atletico Madrid.

Bayern, Inter, Real Madrid and Tottenham are interested in Borussia Monchengladbach defender Matthias Ginter, reports Calciomercato.

Chelsea are looking to sign Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to new contracts, according to Romano.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hailed club-record signing Jack Grealish following his memorable Champions League debut, while lauding the ruthlessness of his team in their 6-3 rout of RB Leipzig.

Grealish – who arrived from Aston Villa in a reported £100million deal during the previous transfer window – scored in City's victory over visiting Leipzig in Manchester on Wednesday.

The England international teed up Nathan Ake for City's 16th-minute opener before scoring a goal of his own approaching the hour-mark midweek.

Grealish became the first Englishman to both score and assist on their Champions League debut since Manchester United great Wayne Rooney against Fenerbahce in September 2004.

"Hopefully it can be the first of many," Guardiola said of Grealish post-match. "I have the feeling that every day he is playing better, and I am pretty sure he will be better in the future.

"His contribution was again high, good. I am delighted with his game."

Christopher Nkunku scored a hat-trick for Leipzig, but Premier League champions City were not to be denied on a wild European night.

Riyad Mahrez, Joao Cancelo and substitute Gabriel Jesus were also on target for City, who benefited from Nordi Mukiele's own goal following Ake's opener.

City have won 50 of their 91 Champions League games (D16 L25) – becoming the second fastest team to 50 wins in the tournament's history after Real Madrid in 2003 (50 wins in 88 games).

"Of course, I am delighted and happy and thank you to these incredible players we have. It was a really tough game," said Guardiola, who took charge of his 300th match as City manager across all competitions (W219 D36 L45) and the 750th fixture of his career (W547 D113 L90).

"The first game at home it was important to win and we scored six goals. Seventeen goals in the last four games is nice to give to them. Now rest and prepare for Southampton. Nine goals in one game so it is nice for all the people watching.

"A team like RB Leipzig never gives up. They have a clear idea. They attack inside, they put a lot of players inside. They don't have the problem of losing the ball because when they lose the ball they make quick transitions.

"When we have the ball they are there to press you. At the same time when you can regain the ball, pass back and switch play a little bit, you always have a chance to run and score a goal.

"I think the game was tight. We were fortunate that when they scored we were able to score immediately.

"I saw the game against Bayern Munich, they made it 1-2 and Bayern Munich suffered because of the counter-attack. It is an interesting team.

"They have played like this since Ralf Rangnick arrived. They really play. It is one of the best teams in Germany. That is why I am incredibly satisfied with the players for the first victory in the group stage."

A visibly delighted Jack Grealish revelled in how Manchester City's thrilling 6-3 win over RB Leipzig "topped off" his eagerly awaited Champions League debut. 

Grealish became City's club-record signing in a reported £100million move from Aston Villa in the previous transfer window, a deal that came about in part due to his desire to play in Europe's premier competition. 

The England international marked the occasion with a goal and an assist, becoming the first Englishman since Wayne Rooney for Manchester United against Fenerbahce in 2004 to do both on his Champions League bow. 

His performance helped City make it 18 games unbeaten in group-stage fixtures, while they also became the second quickest to 50 wins in the tournament's history, reaching the landmark in 91 matches, three more than Real Madrid. 

Talking to BT Sport after the game, an enthused Grealish spoke about how the famous Champions League anthem also got his pulses racing. 

"I loved it," Grealish said. "I had been waiting a while and the past few days I couldn't wait for this game. It was a great night. 

"It had everything. In the end, we're delighted to get the win against a good team, full of energy, full of young players. I'm delighted personally to get a goal and an assist. 

"I was delighted [to play]. When the game kicked off, I was like, 'I've played in the Champions League now!' Before, with the music and everything, it was so nice and the game topped it off. 

"I went to check the result from the other game [Club Brugge 1-1 PSG] and it shows anything can happen in the Champions League. It's why it's such a wonderful competition." 

During the game, television cameras picked up on Grealish receiving animated instructions from City boss Pep Guardiola. 

Grealish revealed his enthusiastic boss was telling him how to aid the team defensively, but the forward insists he has no issues with such an approach and is keen to listen to Guardiola's demands given his success in the game. 

"That was just defensive work," he said of Guardiola's intense instructions. "I won't go too much into it because he [Guardiola] might want the same tactics for the weekend. 

"That's what the manager is like, he's always wanting more defensively and offensively. He's someone I'm going to listen to after everything he's done in the game. He's obviously just handing out useful information." 

Jack Grealish helped Manchester City negotiate a tricky Champions League opener and sensationally defeat RB Leipzig 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium.

Club-record signing Grealish made his European debut a memorable one on Wednesday, adding to an early assist for Nathan Ake with a sublime second-half strike.

City – in action in this competition for the first time since last season's final defeat to Chelsea – wobbled a little between those two efforts, benefitting from Nordi Mukiele's own goal and a Riyad Mahrez penalty but conceding twice to Christopher Nkunku.

Even after Grealish's goal, Nkunku's hat-trick strike caused further concern, only for Joao Cancelo and substitute Gabriel Jesus to notch numbers five and six for City and clinch three vital points in a tough Group A that also features Paris Saint-Germain.

Both sides will have to defend better against PSG, with Leipzig's woes evidenced as Ake towered over two opponents to head in Grealish's corner before Mukiele inexplicably nodded Kevin De Bruyne's awkward delivery past his own goalkeeper.

Mukiele soon put his head to better use, directing the ball back across goal for Nkunku to nod beyond Ederson, but back came City before the break, this time aided by Lukas Klostermann, whose elbow blocked Ferran Torres' header and allowed Mahrez to dispatch a thumping spot-kick.

The second half followed a similar pattern, with Leipzig twice working hard to get back into the game and then quickly falling further behind.

Grealish's pinpoint finish after cutting in from the left cancelled out another header from Nkunku, who completed his treble shooting across Ederson from the right side of the area.

Cancelo drove in from 25 yards, however, and then provoked a red card from former City man Angelino – dismally late to a challenge when already booked – with time remaining for a scruffy close-range sixth from Jesus.

Manchester City had a "considerable chance" of signing Cristiano Ronaldo before he re-joined Manchester United, according to Fernandinho.

Premier League champions City were strongly linked with Ronaldo last month after it emerged he had asked to leave Juventus, where he had spent the previous three seasons.

However, United pulled of a stunning coup by agreeing a deal worth up to £19.67million (€23m) for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, 12 years after he had departed for Real Madrid.

Ronaldo has made a fine start to his second spell at United with three goals in two games, but Fernandinho has suggested the Portugal captain could well have been a City player.

Asked how close his side came to signing the superstar forward, Fernandinho told ESPN Brasil: "I think they had a good, considerable chance. 

"I think his agent [Jorge Mendes] was here at the club renewing the contracts of Ederson, Ruben Dias, seeing the situation of Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo. 

"Obviously, if you're there at the table, you can talk about everything and every possible player."

Shortly after putting pen to paper on an initial two-year deal with United, Ronaldo revealed the part former boss Alex Ferguson had on his decision to opt for a return to Old Trafford.

And given the media attention surrounding the prospect of Ronaldo agreeing to join City, Fernandinho believes other factors played a part in the 36-year-old's decision.

"I think that a lot of expectations were also raised with the possibility of him coming here," the Brazilian said. "No doubt this ends up affecting not only the fans, but also the people inside the club. 

"But in the end, things didn't work out, he didn't close the deal, and ended up going to the red side of town. Life goes on."

After scoring twice on his second Old Trafford debut in last weekend's 4-1 win against Newcastle United, Ronaldo was again on target in the Red Devils' surprise 2-1 Champions League loss to Young Boys on Tuesday.

Ronaldo's 13th-minute opener made Young Boys the 36th different side he has scored against in the Champions League, a record the Portuguese now shares with Lionel Messi.

He also equalled another record in Switzerland on what was his 177th Champions League appearance, matching the number of games player by legendary Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Lionel Messi is in line to make his 150th Champions League appearance and his first with Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Mauricio Pochettino's men travel to Club Brugge and Messi is about to partake in his first European campaign without Barcelona, while Manchester City host RB Leipzig.

Liverpool and Milan renew rivalries in the competition for just the second time since the 2004-05 final between the pair but the Serie A side have a woeful record against English teams.

Inter have a similarly poor record against Spanish teams and they face Real Madrid, with Karim Benzema edging towards another goalscoring landmark.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the key Opta data ahead of Wednesday's fixtures.

Inter v Real Madrid: Benzema looks to edge past former Galactico Raul 

Inter have lost four of their last five against Real Madrid but Los Blancos have only won one of their previous eight away games against Wednesday's opponents as they prepare for a replay of last year's group stage outing.

However, Inter have not won against a Spanish team in Europe's premier competition since 2010 and Madrid have been victorious in 12 of their last 13 against Serie A outfits.

Carlo Ancelotti has Karim Benzema among his ranks and the forward will appear in his 17th consecutive campaign as he looks for his 72nd goal to move ahead of Raul (71) into fourth in the all-time scoring list.

 

Manchester City v RB Leipzig: Guardiola's group stage dominance

Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 17 group-stage ties and, since Pep Guardiola was appointed, they have lost just three of 30 at this stage of the competition.

The hosts are eyeing their 50th win in their 91st game as they look to become the second fastest to the half-century, while RB Leipzig have lost three of their last four against English opposition.

City's attacking riches could thrive at Etihad Stadium, too, Ferran Torres has scored four in his last six appearances in Europe - a goal every 90 minutes - and Riyad Mahrez has been involved in 22 goals in 28 starts for Leicester City and his current side in the Champions League.

 

Liverpool v Milan: Istanbul replay ends Rossoneri's seven-year wait

Milan will appear in their first Champions League since 2014, their first fixture a replay of the memorable 2004-05 final that saw Liverpool triumph.

Stefano Pioli's men have won just one of their last 13 against English opponents in European competition, while the Reds have lost just one of their last 12 group-stage games at Anfield in Europe under Jurgen Klopp.

Mohamed Salah (25) is one of two Liverpool players – along with Steven Gerrard (21) – to score 20+ times in the competition but Sadio Mane (19) could join them with a goal on Wednesday to become the fourth African to the 20-goal mark.

 

Club Brugge v Paris Saint-Germain: Pochettino's attacking riches

Paris Saint-Germain have netted 21 goals across six games against Belgian opposition – winning five and drawing once – while Club Brugge have only won one of their six opening games.

Lionel Messi – the second all-time leading scorer in the competition – could make his first PSG continental appearance, having scored 120 goals and provided 35 assists in 149 games for Barcelona against teams from 17 nations.

The visitors also boast half of the six players to be involved in 30+ goals in the competition in the last four seasons, with Kylian Mbappe (37), Messi (36) and Neymar (31) all doing so.

Other fixtures:

Atletico Madrid v Porto:

41 – Diego Simeone has won 41 of the 79 Champions League fixtures he has managed since 2013-14, with only Pep Guardiola (56) picking up more wins in this period.

4 – Porto have won four of their last five away games in the competition, their only loss coming against eventual runners-up Manchester City last term.

Besiktas v Borussia Dortmund:

1 – Besiktas have only collected one win in their last 10 home games in the Champions League and two of four defeats in that run have come against Bundesliga sides.

100 – Borussia Dortmund have a 100 per cent record against Turkish opposition in the Champions League, though all four wins have come against Galatasaray.

Sheriff Tiraspol v Shakhtar Donetsk:

1 – Sheriff Tiraspol are the first ever Moldovan team to feature in the Champions League proper. They are unbeaten in their last nine in European competition.

3 – Shakhtar Donetsk have only been beaten three times in their last 11 games as they went unbeaten against Real Madrid and Inter in the group stages last season.

Sporting CP v Ajax:

36 – Aged just 36, Ruben Amorim becomes the second youngest Portuguese manager in the competition's history, after former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas (33) in 2011.

2 – Ajax have only lost two of 10 games against Portuguese opponents since the inaugural European Cup. However, just two of these games have taken place this century.

Harry Kane's attempt to leave Tottenham did not go according to plan before the transfer window closed.

Despite interest from Manchester City, Kane remains in London with Spurs.

Kane could be prepared to sign another contract at Tottenham…

 

TOP STORY – NEW DEAL FOR KANE?

Tottenham star Harry Kane is open to a contract extension if the offer includes a release clause, according to Eurosport.

Kane wanted to leave Tottenham in the off-season, but a move did not materialise, despite interest from Premier League champions Manchester City.

The England striker, though, could be willing to re-sign on one condition.

Paris Saint-Germain, JuventusReal Madrid and Barcelona have previously been linked with Kane.

 

ROUND-UP

Juventus could face competition from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for City forward Gabriel Jesus, reports Calciomercato. Juve are keen to bolster their attack following Cristiano Ronaldo's exit but face a battle should Robert Lewandowski leave Bayern. Lewandowski has been linked with the likes of City and Madrid.

- Fabrizio Romano claims United are planning to offer Luke Shaw a new contract at Old Trafford. However, United are prioritising new deals for Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.

Liverpool are among the contenders to sign Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, says 90min. Haaland has been linked with United, City, Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, Juve and PSG but 90min claims Liverpool have held talks with his agent Mino Raiola.

Pep Guardiola denied Manchester City's loss to Chelsea in last season's Champions League final was a failure, insisting it was an "incredible achievement".

European club football's biggest prize continues to elude City, who underwhelmed in a 1-0 loss to the Blues in Porto back in May.

Guardiola has not won the Champions League since doing so with Barcelona in 2011, but he views City's campaign in last season's competition as a success.

Ahead of their opening fixture of this year's tournament with RB Leipzig on Wednesday, Guardiola said: "Every time I start this competition with drive. I'm incredibly happy here.

"Man City made a step forward last season, we improved a lot. We had 13 games and we won 11. We played incredibly well in Porto when we drew and deserved to win.

"We lost the final. People can say Man City was a failure but it was an incredible achievement last season playing really well in many of the games and losing well against a big contender.

"Now we start a new one and every team wants to win. We're going to try but I won't tell you which team is going to win because I don't know it.

"We're going to train this afternoon and try to continue the rhythm from Norwich, Arsenal and Leicester.

"The most important thing for the club is we were always in this competition in the last years. We do really well, which is why we deserve to be there.

"After that, compete with the best teams in Europe. It is not guaranteed that if you do a really bad Champions League season you're going to do a really bad Champions League season again and it is the same with the opposite.

"The first target is to win tomorrow, try to continue the rhythm and the way we played last season and the last three games, and see what happens."

Asked if the expectation of needing to win the Champions League annoys him, Guardiola replied: "I accept it. Every year is the same. If I win the Champions League I will be happy for the club. If I'm not able to do it, I'm not able.

"After, you can judge the success of my period. I try to do my best every single day, winning or not winning. People judge my job like I judge my players and how incredibly they've done in the last five years."

Bernd Leno's future at Emirates Stadium is up in the air.

Aaron Ramsdale's arrival, on a deal that could reach a reported £30million, put Leno's first-choice position in jeopardy.

The 29-year-old German joined Arsenal in 2018 and has been number one since.

TOP STORY - ARSENAL CONSIDERS LENO SALE

Arsenal are contemplating selling German goalkeeper Leno next year following Ramsdale's arrival, claims the Daily Mail.

Ramsdale was selected ahead of Leno in Arsenal's 1-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday after the German had an indifferent start to the season

The report claims there is little chance Arsenal will sell Leno in January but that the Gunners signed Ramsdale believing he may usurp the German by the end of the 2021-22 season.

 

ROUND-UP

- As Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid circle, Paul Pogba is leaning towards extending his stay with Manchester United claims The Athletic. The report cites Cristiano Ronaldo's impact at United on Pogba's thinking.

- West Ham United have placed a £100 million price tag on in-demand Declan Rice with  Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all jostling for his signature according to Football.London.

- French midfielder Thomas Lemar is expendable following Antoine Griezmann's arrival and could be sold by Spanish champions Atletico Madrid claims Todo Fichajes. Atletico wants to raise transfer funds to bolster their squad.

- Football Insider claims that Bayern Munich are already working on signing Chelsea's German striker Timo Werner next year, with a January move not ruled out.

- Chelsea will open talks with England international midfielder Mason Mount on a new long-term deal according to 90min.

- Arsenal target Houssem Aouar will not leave Olympique Lyon mid-season reports Todo Fichajes.

Are Barcelona set to make a splash in 2022?

After losing Lionel Messi on a free transfer due to their crippling debt, Barca are busy planning for next season.

Franck Kessie and Youri Tielemans are believed to be on the radar at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA EYEING PAIR

Barcelona are targeting Milan star Franck Kessie and Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans, according to reports.

Kessie is out of contract at the end of the season and he is yet to re-sign at Milan amid links with Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Mundo Deportivo claims LaLiga giants Barca are considering a move for the Ivory Coast international, as well as Tielemans – who is reportedly wanted by the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fichajes says Premier League champions Manchester City are plotting a bid for Leeds United and England star Kalvin Phillips.

Real Madrid are interested in Lyon's Rayan Cherki as a long-term replacement for Karim Benzema, per Fichajes. It comes as Madrid continue to pursue PSG's Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus are considering a move for Madrid left-back Ferland Mendy.

United are ready to rival Barca, Juve and Bayern Munich for RB Leipzig attacker Dani Olmo, according to Marca.

Borussia Dortmund teenager Jude Bellingham is attracting plenty of interest.

The 18-year-old England international's price is valued at around £80 million (€94m).

Bellingham made 46 appearances for Dortmund last season and already has eight England caps.

 

TOP STORY – CITY PLACE BELLINGHAM ON WISH LIST

Manchester City have turned their attention to Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, claims the Daily Star.

City have placed the 18-year-old England international on their wish list, as they look for a long-term replacement for veteran Fernandinho.

Pep Guardiola's side will join the queue alongside Liverpool, Chelsea and Bayern Munich.

ROUND-UP

- Dortmund's Erling Haaland will not rush into a decision on his club future when a release clause of approximately £70m (€81m) takes effect in 2022 amid interest from Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City,  claims 90min.

- Man City will rival Manchester United and look to complete a deal for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice in 2022, reports The Sun. Rice is valued at £100m by the Hammers.

- The Daily Mail claims Alexandre Lacazette's future at Arsenal is in some doubt after the club reportedly tried to replace him during the recent transfer window.

- Free agent Dani Alves has been heavily linked with a move to Argentine giants Boca Juniors,  according to Marca.

- Barcelona have already tabled a contract extension offer to 18-year-old talent Ansu Fati,  reports Mundo Deportivo.

Pep Guardiola hailed match-winner Bernardo Silva after Manchester City made it three wins on the bounce on Saturday.

Silva was the standout performer as City beat Leicester City 1-0 at the King Power Stadium to sit one point behind Premier League pacesetters Manchester United.

The Portugal playmaker scored the decisive goal in the 62nd minute, had two other attempts on target and created three chances, behind only Ilkay Gundogan and Jack Grealish (both four).

Silva had been expected to leave City in the recent transfer window, with Guardiola confirming in August that the 27-year-old was hoping to find a new club.

Yet with no suitors coming in, Silva has nevertheless kept up his level over the early part of the season, filling in for the injured Kevin De Bruyne in midfield and often working in tandem with £100million man Grealish.

"Bernardo is back in the best form and mentality. He is an exceptional player and we know it," Guardiola told Sky Sports.

Expanding further in his news conference, Guardiola said: "He [Bernardo] played really well the last two games. Again today the connection with Jack and Joao Cancelo was brilliant.

"In general, it was all of them. We had the quality to put the ball in the right spots. 

"I like to have one or two players in the side who go to the natural side. So when Grealish plays right and Gundo plays right, they have to turn. When Bernardo plays with Jack he can make a cross. We need some on their natural side."

With City failing in their pursuits of Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo – who netted twice on his second United debut on Saturday – Guardiola is without an out-and-out centre-forward, though the Premier League champions have still scored 11 goals across their last three matches.

Nine players have been responsible, and Guardiola insisted sharing the goals around has to be the way forward for City this term.

"We score the last 11 goals from nine different players," he continued. "It's the only way to sustain our level. 

"We played really well from the first minute. After the international break, you always have doubts. We were a high level again for three weeks in a row. We had many chances and could have scored more goals. This is a step we still need to take."

City had 25 shots to Leicester's six, dominating the Foxes, who thrashed them on the road last season and also won the Community Shield game last month.

"What can I say? The keeper is the best player of the Leicester team because we did many, many good things," reflected Guardiola.

"You have to be patient. Of course I'm happy with the three points. Our performance was outstanding.

"Leicester, like the last years, have always been fighting until the end. I'm very pleased. If you are able to score or shoot, I don't know how many, it is because you are doing very good things. Kasper Schmeichel is an incredible keeper and saves these goals."

Bernardo Silva scored the only goal as Manchester City beat Leicester City 1-0 to move a point behind Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.

On a day when Cristiano Ronaldo's return to United, and subsequent brace in a 3-1 win over Newcastle United, was the dominant story, the defending champions delivered a scarcely needed reminder they are not to be ignored.

City dictated matters at King Power Stadium, though Pep Guardiola's side lacked a ruthlessness that the man they were reportedly set to sign prior to him returning to United continues to display.

Yet the instrumental Silva made the telling impact in the 62nd minute, his goal enough to seal the points against a Leicester side whose threat was not consistent enough to merit any share of the spoils.

Guardiola's men had the better of the first-half opportunities as Kasper Schmeichel was forced to keep out a Gabriel Jesus header after fine work from Silva, who later saw an effort deflected wide before Jack Grealish cleared the crossbar.

However, City would have fallen behind two minutes into the second half if not for the woodwork, Harvey Barnes clipping the crossbar with a header from Jamie Vardy's right-wing cross.

Vardy rounded Ederson and fired home from a tight angle but was correctly flagged offside after latching on to Wilfred Ndidi's throughball.

Ferran Torres failed to squeeze a low effort inside the near post after he was sent through on goal but City's dominance of possession was eventually rewarded thanks in part to a defensive error.

Leicester centre-back Caglar Soyuncu could only succeed in diverting Joao Cancelo's shot from outside the box into the path of Silva to poke home from point-blank range.

Schmeichel tipped over a swerving effort from Kyle Walker and City survived a late scare as Ederson denied Ademola Lookman following a counter, the visitors holding firm and keeping pace with new leaders United, both clubs seemingly set to play centre stage in the title race.

Central and South American players who were barred from travelling to World Cup qualifiers by their Premier League teams will be available this weekend after their countries backed down from a request to ban them under FIFA rules. 

Players from Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Paraguay are cleared to play as their national federations agreed late Friday to waive a measure that would have compelled the players to sit out after their clubs refused to release them for international duty. 

Premier League teams last month decided to prevent players from nations on the United Kingdom's COVID-19 "red list" to participate in Qatar 2022 qualifiers, citing the UK's requirement that people who have travelled to those countries quarantine for 10 days upon their return. 

There had been some indications earlier Friday that the players might be available, but official word did not come down until shortly before midnight London time. 

Brazilians now available to their clubs Saturday include Ederson and Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City, Chelsea's Thiago Silva and Manchester United's Fred. 

Among players from other nations involved, Wolves can use Mexico's Raul Jimenez on Saturday, while Newcastle will have Paraguay's Miguel Almiron available, and Watford can play Chile's Francisco Sierralta 

Liverpool will be most relieved, with Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino cleared to face Raphina and Leeds on Sunday. 

Earlier Friday, Jurgen Klopp said at a news conference that he hoped a solution could be reached for the benefit of all parties involved. 

"It is a really difficult situation and really tricky for all the clubs, and the players especially," Klopp said. "We should not forget at this moment that the players wanted to play these games, the clubs wanted to let the players go but it was not possible."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hit out at the "crazy" decision from the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) to invoke a FIFA suspension for Ederson and Gabriel Jesus.

City duo Ederson and Jesus were – among the majority of other South American players in the Premier League – not released by their clubs for the recent round of World Cup qualifiers on the continent.

Premier League clubs unanimously agreed last month they would refuse to release players called up by nations that are on the British government's travel red list amid the coronavirus pandemic.

All of South America is on this list, and players would have had to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days upon their arrival back in the United Kingdom, leaving them unavailable for at least two league games and next week's European fixtures.

Spurs trio Davinson Sanchez, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero nevertheless joined up with Colombia and Argentina respectively, while Aston Villa's Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia also travelled, though the Argentine contingent agreed to return early.

However, Martinez, Lo Celso and Romero were at the centre of incredible scenes in Sao Paulo last weekend when Brazilian health authority officials stormed onto the pitch to detain the trio, as Brazil's travel rules demand individuals to isolate if they have been in the UK within 14 days of their arrival in the country.

Explaining his frustration and confusion, Guardiola pointed to this fact after Brazil invoked a FIFA ruling to prevent clubs from fielding the players they did not release.

Ahead of Saturday's trip to Leicester City, Guardiola told a news conference on Friday: "Right now it still isn't clear, hopefully they can play, we will wait and see tomorrow if there is some good news. The club didn't inform me of anything. So we are going to wait and see if they can play or not.

"I don't understand the situation for the fact that I don't know what we can do. It's an honour for us that our players go and play for the countries where they are born. It's no problem at all.

"It's difficult to justify for me that the Argentina players who play in the Premier League, they go to Brazil and they were not allowed to play, and the Brazilian players who should have travelled to play this game would have been completely the same.

"So if they travelled there, they wouldn't have been able to play because of the quarantine there. If they do it so they [fly to Brazil] but cannot play in Brazil and after when they came back they could not play here for 10 days. And if they don't fly, then after they are suspended for five days because they were here. So it makes no sense.

"Argentina travelled with some players, the police were on the pitch, and they could not play the game because they didn't follow the protocol.

"So it would have happened with the Brazil players. And after the federation from Brazil asked FIFA to ban these players that cannot travel to play with them, but they could not play there, and now they could not play here? It's crazy."

With Zack Steffen isolating in the United States having tested positive for COVID-19, Guardiola will likely have to call on veteran goalkeeper Scott Carson to make just his second City appearance if Ederson is rendered unavailable – the former England international's only previous outing being in a 4-3 win over Newcastle United back in May, his first top-flight appearance in a decade.

Ferran Torres scored a hat-trick in that match and, after netting twice against Arsenal last time out, has now been involved in six goals in his last six league appearances. 

Jesus, playing on the right of City's front three, has also made a strong start to the season and would be a miss for Guardiola's team. Indeed, the forward has only scored more times against Everton (eight) in the Premier League than he has in meetings with Leicester (five).

Guardiola was at least able to offer positive news on the fitness of Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne.

"Yesterday Phil made the first training session, and Kevin was training alone and then with the players still here," he said. "They're feeling much better."

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